In "Mistborn: The Final Empire," Kelsier mentions that Allomancers have either only one power or all of them. While I can understand that Mistings only have a single power, why the binary choice of one or all? Adding to my interest is Spook's musing in "Mistborn: The Age of Heroes" that his gain of the user of pewter made him complete (as far as the physical Allomancy powers go).

Why aren't there different combinations of powers - single powers, complete pairs of powers (physical, emotional, etc.) or several pairs, and the full Mistborn set?

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    what bothers you about spook, that he thought he was complete? or that he had 2 powers and 2 only? Dec 1, 2013 at 13:25
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    @tryingToGetProgrammingStraight, not bothered by Spook per se, but just wondering about the whole Allomancy system. 1 power or all, nothing in between. For instance, tin and pewter are the physical powers - I'm wondering why there weren't mistings for that pair. I know, it's the way the system is set up, but it would've been interesting if there was more of a range of abilities - 1 power, a pair of powers (physical, emotional, etc.), a "quadrant"/full set of powers (e.g., iron/steel/tin/pewter), all the way up to Mistborn (everything). Like hair genetics - white, blond, brown, to black.
    – JW8
    Dec 2, 2013 at 18:51

2 Answers 2


In Hero of Ages, Sazed's notes explain that before the rise of the Lord Ruler, mistings existed, but not mistborns. The first mistborns were created by the Lord Ruler by ingesting pieces of Preservation's body. Somehow, this power was transferable through lineage (genetics are not necessarily involved) and, as a thousand years passed, its strength decreased.

The natural state of allomancers seems to be that of the simple misting, having only one power. This seems to be how Preservation wanted it. The Lord Ruler changed that, however, and the noble families, having more of Preservation's power through lineage, have better chances to produce mistings, the natural occurence of allomancy. Sometimes, though, because of this meddling, Preservation's power is more concentrated in an individual, giving them the power of a mistborn.

As for Spook, he always felt he was useless in the crew, as his powers as a Tineye were very passive. He yearned to be able to fight with the others, yet lacked the power to do so even though he could sense things the others could not. I always interpreted his musings to mean that he felt complete because he could now act on the information his senses provided and, given his nature as a tin savant, pewter gave him the physical resolve to endure the negative effects of his constant tin flaring.


Well, the complete answer needs to delve into the cosmere a bit, but we can simplify this.

The short answer is, because thats what Preservation decided thats how it works.

This changes in Alloy of Law, because of the events at the end of Hero of the Ages.

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    I'm not sure it changed in Alloy of Law, all that happened was that otherwise-pure strains started interbreeding.
    – Tacroy
    Jul 17, 2012 at 22:27
  • Actually, I saw that comment come up when I was browsing 17th shard, but honestly the impression I got was that Harmony altered the rules of how powers worked once he came into being and fixed things.
    – Corwin01
    Jul 17, 2012 at 22:45
  • yes, they were 'originally' the 16 metals and the two 'god' metals, but Rashek changed things on ascension, and Sazed changed them back to how they were
    – fbstj
    Jun 26, 2013 at 12:02

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